The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, August 21, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 18th of March, 2008

Front Page

CJ-led panel to suggest SC judges' recruitment

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday promulgated an ordinance to set up a Supreme Judicial Commission that will recommend to the president names for appointment of additional judges to the High Court (HC).

Govt moves to cancel Nam flat allotments

The chief adviser's office directed the housing and public works ministry to initiate steps to cancel allotments of Nam flats to former lawmakers occupying those now, and to ask them to pay increased rents after getting fresh allotments, said housing ministry officials.

Court unhappy over Hasina's hospitalisation without its permission

A special court, hearing a graft case against detained former premier Sheikh Hasina and seven others, yesterday expressed dissatisfaction over the activities of the jail authorities as she had been hospitalised without taking permission from the court.

Govt mulls making railway public limited company

The government is actively considering turning the state-run Bangladesh Railway (BR) into a public limited company (PLC) on suggestions of the Asian Development Bank.

Food price hike major challenge, say economists

Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam at a pre-budget consultation with leading economists yesterday said he is satisfied with the country's economic performance and there is no reason for alarm.

Annisul Huq-led panel leading in FBCCI polls

Annisul Huq-led panel was leading in the biennial election to the country's apex trade body, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), held yesterday.

CA reaffirms pledge to hold credible polls within deadline

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed has said the main motto of his government is to hold a free, fair and acceptable parliamentary election by the set deadline as no one wants to return to the nightmarish days before January 11, 2007.

Negative perceptions of stability to impede development, growth

Visiting UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis yesterday said negative perceptions about political stability would hurt the country's development process and its economic growth.

Emon killed smuggler at Babar's 'directive’

Dreaded criminal Sanjidul Islam Emon killed the member of a smuggling ring in 2000 'at the directive' of former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar for pocketing a consignment of the minister's smuggled goods.

Election offices asked to publish draft voter rolls of 93 upazilas

The Election Commission (EC) has directed the field-level election offices to begin publishing the draft voter lists for the areas where voter registration is completed.

WB for using recovered money for pro-poor programmes

Visiting World Bank (WB) Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday urged the government to form a team to recover stolen assets for using those to fund programmes for the poor.

BNP to submit memorandum to chief adviser

BNP leaders of pro-Khaleda faction have decided to submit a memorandum to the chief adviser demanding unconditional release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia as well as other political detainees by March 25.

Suicide attack kills 36 near Karbala shrine

A suicide attack near a Shia shrine killed at least 36 people yesterday in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, a health official told AFP.

Top AL leaders slated for not taking steps

Local Awami League (AL) leaders yesterday criticised top party leaders for not taking necessary steps for getting AL President Sheikh Hasina released.

Musharraf opponents vow to end his dictatorship

Pakistan's new parliament met for the first time yesterday, with opponents of President Pervez Musharraf vowing to end his "dictatorship" after trouncing his allies in elections.

Falu sued for swindling lender of Tk 70 lakh

A case was filed yesterday with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka against detained former lawmaker also BNP leader Mosaddak Ali Falu, in connection with swindling a lending company of Tk 70 lakh.

EC considering holding nat'l, upazila polls simultaneously

The Election Commission (EC) has firmly decided to hold upazila elections and is considering whether the national and upazila polls can be done simultaneously.

2,500 MT rice arrives as talks with India on

A total of 2,500 tonnes of rice at a cost of $399 per tonne arrived in Bangladesh from India yesterday, said Food Director Ilahi Dad Khan after a meeting with the visiting Indian delegation.

Import duty of some essentials might go

The government is mulling withdrawal of import duty on rice and other essential commodities, said Commerce Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman yesterday.

7 to die for killing 6 of a family

A court here yesterday awarded death sentence to seven people for killing six members of a family at Bhelanagar in Narsingdi Pourasava (municipality) area last year.

HC bench of justice Nayeem, Shahidul stripped of writ powers

The writ powers of the High Court division bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Shahidul Islam that recently handed down verdicts in a series of high-profile cases were taken away yesterday.

Tigers' chance to bounce back

Bangladesh cricket team will look to salvage some pride against Ireland in the first one-day international at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.

WB to help build railway bridge beside Jamuna Bridge

The World Bank (WB) has assured the government of providing financial support for building a separate railway bridge beside the Jamuna Bridge.

College teacher killed in bomb attack in Jessore

A college teacher has been killed and another injured in a bomb attack near Kumraghata Bazar in Jessore.

Correction

The Daily Star regrets the fact that the news report headlined 'Future nation-builders honoured; The Daily Star awards 911 O and A level students for outstanding performances', which was published on March 16, inadvertently failed to mention that Brac Bank and Grameen Phone were also the sponsors of the event, although it mentioned, "Kaiser Tanvir Amin, acting managing director and CEO of Brac Bank, and Rubaba Dowla, director of Grameen Phone's marketing division, also spoke."

Editorial

Draft RTI ordinance 2008

We welcome the fact that the caretaker government has placed the draft of the Right to Information Act before the nation. Such a step demonstrates clearly its readiness to take people's sentiments into cognisance. That the people of Bangladesh have the right to know what happens in statecraft and, equally, how public money is spent, cannot any more be denied. We strongly believe that the ongoing public deliberations should lead to a quick adoption of the Right to Information Act through an ordinance, to be followed by its subsequent ratification by the next Parliament.

The fast food we eat

Barring notable exceptions of fast food shops that offer food stuffs of international standards, health experts have expressed worries about indifferent quality of food served by wayside eating places. It was never a secret that regular intake of such foods could have a highly negative impact on the physical or even mental growth of school and college students. It can even cause loss of appetite and slowing down of brain development.

Game of cricket, game of politics

Cricket and politics are the two most loved and two most despised games in Bangladesh, thanks to the antics of the players in the two camps. The two games make both players and diehard supporters get ecstatic, irrational, wild, unreasonable and even murderous, depending on which side is winning. If my team wins, everything goes. If my team loses, everything goes. The performance of our national cricket team, the "Tigers”" (?!), and that of bagha, bagha political parties continue to be unproductive and at times even shameful. Little is left for us to feel proud about either of the two.

Is Bangladesh facing a famine?

Recently, the economics department of Jahangirnagar University organised a seminar in memory of its late professor Mafizuddin Ahmed. The title of the seminar was a provocative one: Is Bangladesh facing a famine? Dr. Mahabub Hossain (Brac), Uttam Kumar (CPD), and I were invited to invoke some insights into the hypothesis.

Nuclear deal, R.I.P.?

Just days after the United Progressive Alliance launched what looked like a determined last-ditch effort to ram through the United States-India nuclear deal; the agreement seems ready to go into cold storage, if not oblivion.

Sports

'Nine v Ten’

One win can be a big relief for the struggling Tigers when they take on Ireland in the first one-dayer of the three-match series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.

Ashraful says sorry

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful sought an unconditional apology yesterday to the countrymen because of his infuriated reaction against a supporter during practice at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday.

B. League after polls

The clubs apparently won a battle with the football federation when they force-stopped the B. League transfer just three days after it started.

Senior Division title goes to Youngmen's

Youngmen's Club Fakirerpool sealed their first major title in domestic football when they ensured unassailable lead in the Senior Division Football League table after contenders Victoria and Sunrise SC drew their crucial super league match yesterday.

BOA draft voters' list published

The election commission yesterday published the draft voters' list for the coming election of the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA).

Hammam coming to Dhaka

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam is expected to arrive in Dhaka on March 28 to open two projects of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).

Local snippets

Zahid Hossain's century went down the drains as Agrani Bank slumped to a one-wicket defeat to Brothers Union in yesterday's First Division Cricket League.

England end drought

England levelled the cricket series against New Zealand when they won the second Test by an emphatic 126 runs on the final morning at the Basin Reserve here Monday.

Imtiaz new ICC CEO

Imtiaz Patel, chief executive of Supersport, the South African broadcast network, will succeed Malcolm Speed as the ICC's chief executive. The ICC executive board, which met in Dubai on Monday, also named IS Bindra, the former president of the Indian board, as principal advisor, a new role.

Barca struggle again

On Samuel Eto'o's 100th appearance for the club, Barcelona missed a golden opportunity to make inroads on leaders Real Madrid when Almeria twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw on Sunday.After Real's surprise 1-0 slip-up at Deportivo La Coruna 24 hours earlier Barcelona, who had Gabriel Milito sent off in the second half, could have cut the gap on the defending champions to five points.

Inter hit back

Inter Milan restored their six-point gap at the top of the Serie A table with a 2-1 victory over Palermo at the San Siro on Sunday.

Everton finally slip

Everton lost ground in the race for a Champions League place on Sunday when they went down 1-0 to struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage, a ground where the Merseysiders have not mustered a point in 42 years.

Werder's slump continues

Bayer Lever-kusen jumped ahead of slumping Werder Bremen into third place behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and Hamburg SV with a 4-1 home victory against Nuremberg on Sunday.

Mirza upsets Peer

India's Sania Mirza continued her domination of Shahar Peer, defeating the ninth-seeded Israeli in three sets Sunday to reach the fourth round of the Pacific Life Open.

Bilic tops Hamburg hitlist

Hamburg SV have put Croatia coach Slaven Bilic on top of their wish-list and the Bundesliga club are keen to sign him immediately after the Euro 2008 tournament in June, the Jutarnji List daily reported on Monday.

Totti wants UCL

AS Roma captain Francesco Totti has taken some of the heat out of Wednesday's city derby with Lazio by stating he would prefer to win the Champions League this season rather than Serie A.

Ishant out of 1st Test

Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa but the two Singhs -- Yuvraj and Harbhajan -- have been retained after the selectors named an expected 14-member squad in Bangalore.

Ishant out of 1st Test

Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa but the two Singhs -- Yuvraj and Harbhajan -- have been retained after the selectors named an expected 14-member squad in Bangalore.

'Pitch will be ready’

The pitch for the first Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka will be ready, Guyana Cricket Board president insisted on Sunday.

Captain's instinct

A "gut feeling" choice made by Michael Vaughan to drop his bowling spearheads Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard paid enormous dividends for the England captain during the second test win against New Zealand.

Federer finds his feet

World number one Roger Federer, in search of his first title of 2008, took no chances Sunday as he moved smoothly into the third round of the Indian Wells Masters Series.

Japanese eves win kabaddi opener

Japan got off to a bright start in the Fresh Independence and National Day women's kabaddi tournament when the visitors recorded a 32-13 win in the opening match at the Outer Stadium kabaddi yesterday.

Rookie Southee added to squad

Teenage pace bowler Tim Southee was added to an otherwise unchanged New Zealand squad for the third Test against England, beginning in Napier on Saturday.

Lawson fuming over selection

Pakistan's Australian coach Geoff Lawson has expressed his unhappiness on the national selection committee not consulting him in picking the squad for the recent home series against Zimbabwe.

Lewis set for T20 return

Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis is to come out of retirement to play Twenty20 cricket for Surrey this season, the Oval-based county announced Monday.

Bill Brown dies

Bill Brown, who was the only remaining link to Australia's pre-World War Two Test era, died in Brisbane on Sunday at the age of 95. Brown was the country's oldest living Test cricketer and the third oldest in the world, and his death leaves only four surviving members of the 1948 Invincibles squad -- Arthur Morris, Sam Loxton, Neil Harvey and Ron Hamence.

Business

EU mulls check on every frozen shrimp container

The European Union is considering checking every frozen shrimp container shipped from Bangladesh in an effort to detect harmful germs, a move which will seriously hamper the country's second largest export earner.

Mobile phone subscriber growth slows in February

The rate of subscriber growth in the mobile telephone networks slowed somewhat in February, with the country's six mobile operators adding 1.14 million new users compared to 2.05million in the previous month.

RMG exports to Germany now recovering

The sliding garment exports to Germany, the second biggest export market of Bangladesh, is gradually recovering from late last year, says Holger Fraider, deputy head of the mission, German Embassy in Dhaka.

Dollar falls to fresh lows

The dollar plunged to a fresh record low against the euro and to the weakest level in 12 years against the yen in Asian trade on Monday as fears about the health of the US economy escalated, dealers said.

Asian stocks tumble

Asian stocks suffered fresh turmoil Monday as investors dumped both stocks and the dollar on fears more US banks could be vulnerable to the credit crisis that crippled investment bank Bear Stearns, dealers said.

Let markets work

One important lesson I have learnt in a long career as an economist is that fighting market forces is often a losing battle. This has become all too clear in the most recent price spiral of essential commodities and the various failed attempts to control the rise.

Space constraint in cold storage upsets growers

As the country experiences potato output this year just double the quantity it can preserve in 271 cold storages, preservation of this item will face a setback, according to the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association (BCSA), a platform of owners. Potato production has reached 40 lakh tonnes, about 25 percent up. The output was 32 lakh tonnes last year. On the contrary, the cold storages across the country have a space of preserving only 20 lakh tonnes.

Formulation of CSR policy on cards

The government will formulate a set of policies on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) with the aim to encourage businesses to contribute more to social welfare, special assistant to the chief adviser Mahbub Jamil said yesterday.

Pak envoy stresses need for increased trade with Bangladesh

Pakistani High Commissioner in Dhaka Alamgir Babar on Sunday emphasised the need for increased bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Pakistan.

US ready to maintain stability in financial system: Paulson

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Sunday tried to allay election-year fears about the economy amid growing market turmoil, saying the government was prepared to do what it takes to maintain stability in the financial system.

Citi appoints new chairman, CEO of Institutional Clients Group

Citi yesterday announced the appointments of Michael Klein as chairman and John Havens as chief executive officer of the Institutional Clients Group (ICG) with immediate effect, says a press release

GM of Asiatic MindShare

Asiatic MindShare Limited, a leading media management agency, has named Mukul Roy Chaudhuri as general manager, says a press release.

Oil hits new high of nearly $112

Oil soared to new highs near 112 dollars in Asian trading Monday as the US currency slumped to a fresh low against the euro, sparking a rush of funds into commodities including crude, dealers said.

‘New British immigration system makes software trade harder’

A new points-based immigration system in Britain may make it harder for developing countries to export software systems to the country, India's trade minister said in an interview published Monday.

Gold hits record high above $1,032

Gold jumped to a record high 1,032.70 dollars on Monday as investors sought a safehaven against a backdrop of tumbling world stock markets, a falling dollar and record oil prices, dealers said.

Singapore's key exports grow at faster pace in February

Singapore's key non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose an annual 7.3 percent in February, faster than the 2.8 percent growth clocked in the previous month and was fuelled by demand for drugs and petrochemicals, the government said Monday.

Siemens unveils surprise profit warning

German industrial giant Siemens issued a surprise profit warning on Monday, saying second quarter earnings would be cut by some 900 million euros (1.4 billion dollars) after a review of major projects.

Metropolitan

Initiate collective efforts to tackle poverty, combat terrorism

Expressing concern over growing inequalities between the rich and the poor and the price hike of foodstuffs at a seminar, the South Asian experts yesterday called for initiating collective efforts to tackle poverty and combat terrorism.

Elect honest candidates for true democracy

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called on all to elect honest and competent candidates through a free, fair and credible election in order to establish true democracy in the country.

Protect Jafflong environment

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), an environmental organisation, yesterday urged the caretaker government to take effective measures to protect the natural beauty and the environment of Jafflong, a popular tourist spot in Sylhet.

Safe motherhood prerequisite to prevent disabilities

Safe motherhood is the prerequisite of preventing different types of disabilities as a large number of disabilities take place due to antenatal and delivery complexities, speakers at the 1st National Congress of the Bangladesh Society for Child Neurology, Development and Disability (BSCNDD) said yesterday.

Govt to seek $100m ADB help for overall checkup

Special Assistant to Chief Adviser for Power and Emergency Dr M Tamim yesterday said the government would seek 100 million US dollar from the Asian Development Bank for overall checkup of Titas gas field, where a well went off following a blowout.

2 owners of pvt hospital held on fraud charges

Two owners of a private hospital were arrested in the city on charges of fraud on Sunday night as the mother of a patient filed a case against them.

Cooked chicken, boiled eggs safe to eat: Experts

Experts at a seminar yesterday said bird flu is a national crisis but we can tackle it by taking preventive measures.

Adviser warns of action against hajj agencies

Law and Religious Affairs Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday warned that the government would take stern actions against the hajj agencies that would be found responsible for mismanagement in dealing with hajj pilgrims.

Road accidents kill five, injure 60

At least five people were killed and 60 others injured in separate road accidents in Faridpur, Mymensingh and Tangail yesterday.

Case against Mannan Bhuiyan withdrawn

A complainant, who had earlier filed a case against former BNP secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and two others for giving him death threats, withdrew it yesterday.

3 Indian Navy ships arrive in Chittagong

Three Indian Navy ships -- Ranjit, Khanjar and Vinash -- arrived in Chittagong yesterday on a three-day goodwill visit.

Punishment to factory authorities demanded

Karmojibi Nari (KN) President Shirin Akter and General Secretary Sharmin Kabir in a joint statement yesterday demanded punishment to Knit Cotton Composite Ltd authorities who didn't grant a worker maternity leave, says a press release.

Abul Mansur's 29th death anniversary today

Today is the 29th death anniversary of Abul Mansur Ahmad, a renowned litterateur, journalist and statesman of the sub-continent, says a press release.

Taslima says she plans to leave India

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen yesterday said she wants to lead a normal life, preferably in Kolkata, and needs to go abroad soon to de-stress herself.

Arguments in Bahodderhat murder case begin

Arguments in the sensational Bahodderhat eight-murder case began here yesterday.

BNP leader, 3 others held for selling forged dollars

A case was filed with Sadar police station Sunday night against four persons including Assassuni upazila BNP general secretary and Kulla union Parishad (UP) chairman Rafiqul Islam for selling forged dollars.

Charge framing against mayor Kamran April 16

Additional District and Sessions Judge Amir Uddin yesterday deferred till April 16 charge framing against detained Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) mayor Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran in a case for keeping foreign liquor at his house.

Scholarship for underprivileged students

Chevron Bangladesh recently awarded scholarships to some 30 underprivileged students for the year 2008 under its annual scholarship programme, says a press release.

Inter-university math contest on June 21

East West University (EWU) will organise an inter-university mathematics competition on June 21, says a press release.

115 deportees arrive home from S Arabia

A total of 115 Bangladeshis who were deported from Saudi Arabia arrived home yesterday amid serious concern over the state of workers in the Kingdom following recent drive against irregular workers.

Four shops gutted in Chittagong

Four shops burned down in a fire at Bansbaria in Sitakunda in the early hours of yesterday.

EC creates dispute among BNP leadership over dialogue

BNP standing committee member Khondakar Mahbub Uddin Ahmed's counsel yesterday blamed the Election Commission for creating dispute in the party over its dialogue on electoral reforms.

Abducted girl rescued in city

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday rescued an abducted girl from in front of Dhaka Factory at Shyampur in the city and arrested one person in this connection.

Unemployed youth commits suicide

An unemployed youth committed suicide at his house at Banasree in the city's Khilgaon area yesterday evening.

Political parties should find out way to ensure 'safe exit' of CG

Former foreign minister and BNP leader M Morshed Khan has said all the political parties should sit together to find out a way to ensure 'safe exit' of the present caretaker government.

Body recovered from N'ganj brick kiln

Langalbandh police in Narayan-ganj district recovered a body from a brick kiln yesterday.

Cuta election on April 15

The election of the Chittagong University Teachers' Association (Cuta) will be held on April 15.

UNDP administrator calls on army chief

Visiting United Nations Develop-ment Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis paid a courtesy call on Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed at Army Headquarters at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday, says an ISPR press release.

BCL demands release of Hasina

Dhaka College unit and Bangla-desh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) yesterday demanded unconditional release of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and proper treatment of her illness.

Bangladeshi artists' painting exhibition in NY March 20

A weeklong painting exhibition on contemporary events will begin at New York, USA on March 20 to mark the Independence Day of Bangladesh.

News Network signs agreement with donor agency

News Network has recently signed a grant agreement with Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), a Taiwan-based international donor agency, for preparing profile of the country's ethnic minority groups.

Workshop on micro-credit begins

A five-day Afro-Asian workshop on Innovative Micro-credit Delivery Systems for Rural Poverty Alleviation began at Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) in Comilla yesterday.

Bangla Academy honours BRAC Bank

Bangla Academy recently honoured BRAC Bank Limited for its support during the Amar Ekushey Grantha-Mela (Book Fair) 2008 at the closing ceremony of the fair.

KCC engineer surrenders

Mashiuzzaman Khan, executive engineer-3 of Khulna City Corporation (KCC), surrendered in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Md Barekuzzaman yesterday.

Seminar on liberation war, grassroots journalism held

A seminar on 'Liberation war in Bangladesh and grassroots journalism' was held at Jahangirnagar University yesterday as part of a research work on 'Rising and development of grassroots journalism in Bangladesh'.

National

Farmers at a fix with bumper potato yield

A bumper potato production in eight northern districts has compelled farmers to preserve the item in their indigenous methods as the total output far surpassed the capacity of cold storages.

4 more PWs testify in court

Four more prosecution witnesses in the five August 17 serial blast cases gave statements before a court here yesterday in presence of 11 out of 19 charge sheeted accused.

Bank official among 5 held

Police arrested five people including a Sonali Bank official for alleged involvement with money receipt forgery for passport making and seized fake money receipts of the bank, stamps, and other fake papers and materials on Sunday and early yesterday.

Demonstration for fertiliser in Jessore

Over five hundred farmers of Darajhat union under Bagharpara upazila in Jessore district demonstrated in front of Upazila Nirbahi Officer's (UNO) office protesting severe crisis of urea fertiliser on Sunday.

3rd Ruet convocation today

The third convocation of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) will be held today to give certificates to the graduates from 1996-97 to 2002-2003 sessions.

Tributes paid to Bazlur Rahman

Several prominent journalists of the country at a memorial meeting held in Jamalpur paid rich tributes to journalist Bazlur Rahman, former Editor of The Daily Sangbad.

Formalities bar schooling in CHT Devasish Roy says

Barrister Devasish Roy, special assistant to the chief adviser (CA) of the caretaker government, said the process of schools' inclusion in monthly pay order (MPO) and teachers' recruitment system should be made simpler to ease schooling in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

Students vow to fight corruption

Students of different schools at a meeting held yesterday in Khoksa upazila town took vow to remain vigilant against corruption so that they can keep themselves away from all kinds of corrupt practices.

3 outlaws held, 6 firearms seized

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Sunday arrested a regional leader of outlawed 'Purba Banglar Communist Party' (PBCP red flag) and recovered six firearms following his information.

Grameen Kalyan observes Kidney Day

Grameen Kalyan (GK), a peer organisation of Grameen family, arranged a rally in Sinagir upazila in Manikganj marking the World Kidney Day on Thursday, says a press release.

Letters

Environment pollution

Polluted environment means pollution of water, food and air, which are the most important elements for all living beings. In this polluted environment babies are born crippled, blind, dull etc. People cannot get fresh air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat.

Politics

During the last few days, there have been doubts and disbelief among the politicians about holding of national election on time. Some of the leaders are very much sceptical about the sincerity of the present EC, despite the fact that the Hon'ble Chief Adviser and the Army Chief are repeatedly saying that the national election will be held as per the roadmap and definitely within 2008. The international community, especially the USA, EU and other donors and development partners are pressing this government to hold election with participation of all major parties. The present CTG has also apprised the international community of its positive intentions.

US preaching democracy!

Although not parliamentary type, the USA obviously practices democracy in its own politics. But when this “police state” tries to impart democracy to others, I feel irritated. Why? Because in world politics, now the US administration is the number one culprit that is crossing every border of decency and is acting against the very core of diplomatic norms. So the DS editorial of March 11 rightly termed the ongoing talks by US charge d'affaires - Geeta Pasi as “evincing more than normal diplomatic interest”.

Exporting mangoes to Japan

Recently, Bangladesh requested Japan to lift the ban on export of mangoes from Bangladesh.

NSC

It is reported in the media that the cabinet has approved a draft ordinance for the " National Security Council" (NSC). A brief and unconfirmed outline has also been mentioned in the report. The NSC is not a new idea . It exists in many countries and operates under the control and guidance of the elected government. We only hope our NSC would follow the same principle and shall not emerge as a " Super Government" to handle day to day internal crisis in political and economic fields. The NSC has two important aspects-- political aspect and national security aspect. I hope the latter would get more attention in the law in the making

Our cricket selectors

It is sad that our selectors don't know the basic things of Test cricket. No one (except our selectors of Test players) would disagree with the well known fact that Test cricket is a game of patience, experience, form & fitness. When these basic things are remembered, no one would adventure to select our Test team excluding Javed Omar Belim Golla, Khaled Mashud Pilot, Rajin Saleh & Aloke Kapali. But our selectors went for that adventure!! This is because of their inefficiency. And they should pay for it. They should resign admitting their guilt & inefficiency. They forced many of the ODI players to play Test cricket. This is the main cause of our shameful failure in Test cricket in the recent past. If Javed Omar Belim Golla, Khaled Mashud Pilot, Rajin Saleh and Aloke Kapali were to play in the first Test against South Africa, the story could have been different.

US and human rights abuses

On 11-03-2008, the United States released its State Department's 2007 Human Rights Report on Asia where North Korea and Myanmar have been ranked the world's worst violators of human rights and condemned other Asian countries, including Bangladesh for alleged human rights abuses. But the report has dropped China from the category of worst violators, noted progress in Thailand's return to democracy and hailed India and Indonesia for generally respecting citizen's rights. However, the government of Bangladesh has termed the report disappointing for its “lack of balance” in presenting the country's ground realities.

International

As McCain burnishes his image, are Democrats tarnishing theirs?

Republican White House hopeful John McCain profited from Democratic infighting to project statesman-like credentials on a trip to Iraq ahead of the US-led invasion's fifth anniversary.

Serb demonstrators chase UN police out of Kosovo city

United Nations police in Kosovo have been forced to withdraw from Serbian areas in the divided city of Mitrovica after clashes with Serb demonstrators.

US hopes new Pak govt will remain strong ally

As the new Pakistan parliament met in Islamabad, policy-makers in Washington hope that the new set-up in Pakistan will retain the country's position as a strong US ally in the 'war against terror'.

Badawi expected to unveil cabinet today

Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is expected to unveil a new cabinet today, which observers said would indicate his appetite for reform after humiliating election results.

Russia urges int'l talks on Kosovo

Russia yesterday called for a return to international talks on the status of Kosovo, saying the latest unrest was a result of the territory's unilateral independence declaration.

Iran slams EU 's stance on its polls

Tehran furiously accused the European Union of unacceptable behaviour and political manipulation yesterday after the bloc issued a statement describing Iranian parliamentary elections as unfair.

2 killed in Baghdad bomb blast

An explosion rocked central Baghdad yetserday, minutes after US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in the Iraqi capital on a surprise visit.

Rice, Gates in Moscow for talks

Top US officials Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates arrived in Moscow on yesterday for sensitive talks on missile defence with President Vladimir Putin and his successor in waiting Dmitry Medvedev.

Crisis mounts as Kuwaiti cabinet quits

Kuwaiti ministers resigned en masse yesterday, the official news agency KUNA reported, in the latest political crisis to hit the oil-rich Gulf emirate.

Four Nato soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Four Nato soldiers were killed in new attacks in Afghanistan, including a Taliban suicide bomb yesterday, that also took the lives of three Afghan civilians, security forces said.

Army officer, top rebel, die in Kashmir

A top Pakistani militant commander, an Indian army officer and a soldier were killed in a fierce gunbattle in northern revolt-hit Kashmir, the army said yesterday.

Egypt utilises army to tackle bread crisis

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has mobilised the army's ovens to deal with the country's massive bread shortages amid rising social unrest, official media reported yesterday.

Child dies of bird flu in Vietnam

Vietnam yesterday registered its fifth bird flu death of the year, national health officials said.

Top Turkish court studies demand to ban ruling party

Turkey's top court yesterday studied a chief prosecutor's demand to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for anti-secular activities, a move that threatens political instability.

Tibet exiles say 100, possibly ‘hundreds' killed in unrest

Conflicting reports poured in yesterday as Tibet's prime minister-in-exile claimed that around 100 people have died in unrest in the Chinese-ruled region, while the Tibetan parliament reported hundreds killed.

Arts & Entertainment

Exposure at New York

For the opening of the Contemporary Art week in New York on March 20, at the Turkish Culture and Tourism Centre, artists Rafiqun Nabi, Farida Zaman, Rokeya Sultana, Laila Sharmeen along with Abul Hasnat (Kali O Kalam), Ziaul Karim (Jamini) and Shubir Chowdury (Bengal Gallery) are headed for New York. Ismet Jahan, the permanent UN representative for Bangladesh will be at the opening.

Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Sammilan ends

To disseminate the philosophies and patriotic ideals of Rabindranath Tagore at the grassroots level, the three-day Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Sammilan was held at Joypurhat from March 14 to 16. The venue, Joypurhat Stadium, was overcrowded with cultural activists and artistes from all over the country and local music enthusiasts.

Festival at the shrine of Gazi, Kalu and Champaboti

A few miles off Jhenidah, at Barobazar, lies the dargah (shrine) of legendary Gazi, Kalu and Champaboti, who lived in the region about seven hundred years ago.

Weeklong Jatra festival begins today

A weeklong jatra festival, organised by the Department of Theatre and Film of Bangladesh Shilpaka Academy, will begin today at the Experimental Theatre Stage. Cultural Affairs Adviser Rasheda K. Chowdhury is expected to inaugurate the festival.

Weeklong book fair ends in Mymensingh

A weeklong book fair concluded at the premises of District Public Library recently. Deputy Commissioner of Jamalpur, Mohamamd Abdul Hoque inaugurated the fair titled "Jamalpur District Boi Mela." The District Public Library and National Library jointly organised the fair.

“Prosthaaner Poth Nei”- Special play on ATN

ATN Bangla will air a special play Prosthaaner Poth Nei on the occasion of Independence Day. The play will be telecast tonight at 08:45 pm. Written by Mohammad Nazim Uddin, the play is directed by Fuad Chowdhury.

Exquisite Jamdani fashion show in the city

On the occasion of Dhaka City turning 400 years old, cultural organisation Dhakabashi and “Dhaka Nogori 400 Bochhor Udjapan Parishad” organised a fashion show and competition on Jamdani sarees at the Sufia Kamal Auditorium, National Museum on March 15.

Mime artist Mashurul Huda

Los Angeles-based Kazi Mashurul Huda is renowned internationally as Mime Ambassador for pioneering the use of mime art in therapy science, says a press release. Huda says that the two factors of mime art are imagination and visualisation, and that people who lack self-esteem suffer from fear or phobia and other mental weaknesses. He uses mime art to help them develop themselves mentally. He feels that all mental weaknesses can be eliminated by teaching people to control the flow of their imagination through visualisation.

Bhansali dabbles with opera

Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is apparently unfazed by the fact that his latest movie "Saawariya" starring debutants Ranvir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor failed to set the box office on fire.

Fans await the return of "Star Wars”

Fans never seem to get their fill of Star Wars, and George Lucas is happy to oblige.

OP-ED

Are you being served?

The service sector is the fastest growing sector in the world economy, as well as in the local economies of many countries. It accounts for more than 70 per cent of GDP in developed countries and 49 per cent of GDP in developing countries. In low income countries services contribute about 45 per cent to the GDP. It is also the fastest growing component of international trade.

True empowerment

Post-independence women in Bangladesh found themselves in household earning positions across the different socio-economic strata. Although still recuperating from the ravages of the liberation war at personal, individual and family level, Bangladeshi women soon found themselves in a position where they had to be providers while adhering to the traditional and cultural gender bias that confined them to homes and homesteads.

Star Wars and Bangladesh

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Thus begins Star Wars, one of the highest grossing movie series in history that also provide powerful insights into political economy, insights that have tremendous relevance to our own time in a country very, very close to our hearts. "No" to a bureaucratic state or any council with extraordinary powers, "yes" to a decentralised democratic republic -- that's what we learn from Star Wars, and they apply very much to today's Bangladesh.

Desperately seeking sense of humour

Asians have no sense of humour. Their idea of comedy is slapstick. Irony doesn't exist in Asian discourse. There are no comedians in Asia.


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